Native Plants for Native Birds

New Rio Salado Pollinator Garden provides a home for bees, butterflies, and birds to flourish

Partnerships and ecological restoration grant brings community together to beautify grounds

More than a hundred volunteers planted native plants along the Rio Salado to allow for pollinators – like bees, butterflies, and birds – to flourish at the Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center.   

Located in the heart of Phoenix’s Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area, the Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center is a nature center offering a variety of free programs and events for the community.   

The new Audubon pollinator garden project is part of the regional river revitalization initiative, Rio Reimagined. The garden is designed to be a climate resilient and drought tolerant revitalized community-use space with nature trails and interpretive educational signage. 

“Audubon Southwest is thrilled to have invaluable partners and volunteers to help us create this pollinator garden. This initiative will help revitalize the Rio Salado Audubon Center while cultivating native plants and supporting the broader community,” said Danny Roper-Jones, Rio Saldao Audubon Center Director. 

Native plants play a vital role in sustaining ecosystems that support nature and people, especially in deserts where native plants are uniquely adapted to limited water availability. These plants offer essential food and habitat for native animals and insects, even during dry periods.

This initiative is in partnership with the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department, Arizona State University, The Rio Reimagined, Arizona Sustainability Alliance, and the TigerMountain Foundation. It is supported by the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) in collaboration with Microsoft. 

“One of the best things about this collaboration is that it supports local organizations like Audubon Southwest and community members, as well as Microsoft employees, to go outside and get their hands dirty restoring their backyard. Well-designed, well-implemented ecological restoration is a positive, empowering, solutions-based approach to local and global challenges. Microsoft’s commitment to standards-based restoration shows they take sustainability seriously,” said SER Executive Director Bethanie Walder. 

The Rio Salado Audubon Center welcomes guests of all ages to visit the garden to learn more about local and migrating pollinators and the importance of conserving their habitats. 

Visit for center hours and to learn more. Watch video of the planting event here.

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